An Unexpected gift

appreciation, blank pages, new yearRecently I was given a gift of appreciation from three women I’d been encouraging and affirming over a period of months.

As they hugged me and thanked me for loving them through some tough times, I was deeply touched. To hear my small involvement in their lives had made a difference was a gift of monumental proportions for me.

Over the years I’ve heard the saying, “Giving is receiving.” The fulfillment I felt was the perfect example of this. I used to think that to make a difference I must do something big, something noteworthy. In actual fact, sometimes all I need to do is to show up. Everyone’s time is valuable and giving it to others shows we care.

The women I mentioned didn’t need to do anything else to show their appreciation. I was surprised when they also handed me a gift bag. It contained a lovely journal and a pen with the inscription Make Your Dreams Happen. On the front of the journal were the words, The Journey is the Destination. Both sentiments were inspiring.

Although the relationship was about me supporting them, these women had taken the time to find out what was important to me. They knew I was a writer and had thoughtfully chosen a gift to show they cared about my dreams and goals. They even included chocolate!

The blank pages of a new journal remind me of the blank pages of a new year. As the calendar turns to a fresh year, there are new adventures to fill up its pages. Each day is a gift and it is up to me to use it wisely. I chose to put the pen in God’s hands and let him write my story.

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan

Christmas Village

#Jesus, love, peaceA Dickens Christmas Village is set up on my hearth. The lights in the church, shops and house shine onto the little village scene. In one area Charles Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol to a crowd gathered around. Nearby are a group of Christmas Carolers. Some children are playing in the snow.

Gazing at the cheerful little village brings back precious memories of receiving the various pieces throughout the years. My adult children enjoyed moving some of the people to unusual locations in the village to see if I’d notice. Grandchildren loved to gaze at it but knew not to touch the porcelain pieces.#Jesus, love, Christmas

This village brings me peace and joy. It also reminds me of love shared with my family, who are the primary members of my personal village.
Christmas is about peace, joy and love. There is no better way to honour Jesus than by sharing the love that he so generously gives to me. That is what I plan to do with those I come in contact with.

I want to express my appreciation for each of you who read my posts. May you feel the blessings of love and peace not only this Christmas but throughout the coming year.

This is how God showed his love among us; He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. ( 1 John 4:9 NIV)

Children’s Christmas Concerts

#God, #inspiration, loveThis week we have the pleasure of attending school Christmas concerts for grandchildren. I can hardly wait!

I view these concerts as having several things in common with the first Christmas: music, drama, God and the element of surprise. You never know quite what to expect at a children’s performance. I sometimes think the audience actually looks forward to the mistakes in the program!

Some children are blissfully unaware of mistakes they make. They are happy being on stage and waving to parents in the audience. A few are embarrassed if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. Either way, their parents look on proudly.

When I was six or seven I had a major role in a school concert. I was to recite T’was the Night Before Christmas. My mother helped me to memorize it and by the day of the concert I had it word perfect. Once on stage, I got nervous and part way through forgot the next line. After pausing to think about it, I started again, not realizing I was repeating a few lines. My little brother called out from the audience, “You already said that part.”

I was embarrassed at my mistake and my little brother stole the show! It was his outburst and not my performance that was remembered.

These mistakes are what provide the most memorable moments. They also teach us the real meaning of Christmas; that true joy comes from being loved by God, no matter how many mistakes we make. That’s what God was telling us more than 2,000 years ago. He’s still telling us that today. His love is there where we follow the script and when we get mixed up. He is there cheering us on, just like the loving parents watching their children in the concerts.

Not only at Christmas but throughout the year, let’s be like little children, basking in the love of our Heavenly Father.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)


#inspiration, flexible, acceptanceI’ve heard it said that expectations are premeditated disappointments; or premeditated resentments. It wasn’t my intention when I set out, but I just proved that statement true!

We were Christmas shopping and I had a definite plan of what I wanted for someone, where I’d find it and how much it would cost. Although my ever patient husband suggested we look in other stores, I refused. I was so sure of myself that the other shopping was done first and this item left to the end.

I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. When I came to the designated store, they didn’t have what I was looking for. I was frustrated and knew I’d have to start all over again. This meant going back to stores I’d passed by earlier. My expectations had caused unnecessary stress.

When I finally entered one store with an open mind, the number of options surprised me. My only difficulty was narrowing down the choices.
I’d like to tell you that this is the only time expectations have caused me trouble, but that wouldn’t be the truth. In all areas of my life when I set expectations on how something has to be done or how it needs to turn out, I’m facing the risk of disappointment. This is not to say that I should never have a plan, only that I need to remain flexible and open to other options. Sometimes the best solution is something I would  never have thought of.

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” Michael J. Fox

City on a Hill

#Jesus, #inspiration, light, kindnessLate one night I was driving home on a long, dark road. The lack of traffic meant there were no other headlights to brighten the road. I felt alone in the darkness.

Most of the towns I passed were in low-lying areas and their lights couldn’t be seen until I was almost upon them.

In the distance, I saw a glimmer of light that brightened as I drew nearer. The city I live in is built on a hill and its warm, welcoming glow could be seen from afar.welcoming, kindness

In the bible, Jesus tells us we should be the light of the world. This is important all the time but maybe even more so in the long, dark days of winter. I wondered how I could be a warm, inviting light for others.
It may be something simple like a friendly smile or word of encouragement. Maybe I could give my time to someone who needs a helping hand. Or, I could take a plate of Christmas cookies to someone who doesn’t bake.

When I stop to think about it, there are lots of ways to shine light into the lives of those around me. By showing kindness I am letting people know I care about them. In this way, the light of Jesus shines through so others will know they are not alone in the dark.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 NIV


joy, freedom, adventures“Can I go outside and play in the snow?” my granddaughter asked. “Sure,” I replied. “Are your sisters going with you?”

Her sisters wanted to stay indoors but she was happy to go out on her own. The pristine snow in our backyard was soon marked with tracks as she jumped and played in her private winter wonderland.

When I next looked out she was making a snow angel. The grin on her face was huge. I turned to my husband and said, “When I look at her I see pure joy.”

The joy came from being free to play. There were no rules to follow. She could just have fun.

It made me wonder about the last time I did something just for the pleasure it would bring. To be free to play and not care what anyone else might think. As the famous quote says, “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood many of us have forgotten how to play. There is no reason life always has to be taken so seriously. Let’s give ourselves permission to play with the joyful abandon of a child.
Life is full of exciting adventures. It’s time to be spontaneous and get out there and enjoy!

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

Head in the Sand

#God, #inspiration, trust, childrenWhen people don’t want to admit to or confront a problem it’s said they are burying their head in the sand. The idea behind this is that if you don’t see the problem, it doesn’t really exist.

I’m sure this is something most of us have done at least once in our lives. I know I have.

This saying came to mind but in a slightly different context recently. We had grandchildren playing in our yard and when I looked out, one had her head buried. It wasn’t in the sand but in the snow.

For her, it wasn’t an avoidance issue. Curiosity was a major factor. Instead of escaping from an unpleasant situation, she was embracing the unknown.

Oh, for the curiosity of a child! No matter what my first impulse may be, I‘d have thought the situation through before making a decision. The snow is cold and wet. Therefore it would probably be uncomfortable. It may even be difficult to breathe. No thank you, I think I’ll pass on putting my head in the snow.

I wonder how many experiences I’ve missed out on because I chose to hide rather than to trust God enough to move into the unknown. If I had the answers to all of my questions before I took a step forward, there would be no need to trust him. Rather than burying my head, I need to look up to God and let him direct me.

A person’s fear sets a trap for him, but one who trusts the LORD is safe. (Proverbs 29:25 GWT)

How Do You Use Your Chopsticks?

#inspiration, lesson, feed your neighbourMany years ago my mother told me a story that came from Korea. This story has been on my mind so I’m sharing it with you.

Once upon a time a man set out to find a place where, he’d been told, lived the happiest people in the world.” When he came to the gates of a large city, he was met by a guide who took him to a house bearing the name “The House of Happiness.”

Just before they knocked at the door the guide asked if the man would like to first visit a house on the opposite side of the street. They went across. This house had a sign over the doorway which said, “The House of Sorrow.” Inside there was a large room, with a table running down the middle, loaded with food of every description. Around the table sat some very sad, hungry-looking people.

“Can’t they eat?” the man asked.

“Oh yes,” replied his guide, “But our custom forbids that anyone should pick up food with his hands, so everyone who arrives is given a pair of chopsticks. Even then it isn’t easy, for, as you can see, these chopsticks are five feet long. In fact, the people you see here are hungry and sad because they are not able to get the food to their mouths with such long chopsticks.”

The man and his guide went away, crossed the road, and entered the other house – “The House of Happiness.” Inside was a similar room, with a table down the center, laden with food. The people sitting around it looked well fed and happy. The man noticed that they, too, had 5 foot long chopsticks.

“How is it,” he asked the guide, “that these people have managed to feed themselves?”

The guide explained. “These people are well fed because they use their own chopsticks to feed their neighbour. So each feed the other, and all are satisfied.”

This simple story still resounds with me because of the lessons it presents. I can picture the people who did and didn’t use their chopsticks well. Will I be selfish or do what I can to help others? The quality of my life depends on how I use my chopsticks.